Tentacles wiggle. Filaments expand. Tails spiral. Looking like coral polyps, sea pens, crustaceans, and other colorful aquatic lifeforms, these multi-material 3D printed ‘plants’ come alive. Triggered by air that’s pumped into and through their parts, their movements are a ‘tangible animation’ that drives Hydrophytes, a project by Wellington, New Zealand-based industrial designer Nicole Hone.
The designs utilise Stratasys PolyJet technology that allows blends of rigid and flexible resins known as digital materials. Sealed chambers allow the 4D prints to activate independently through pneumatic inflation. The Hydrophytes illustrate a range of multifaceted, variable movements whose life-like qualities are unique to the behaviour of digital materials.
These Computer-Generated Objects (CGO) take advantage of both the digital world, with its versatility and efficiency in form-making, and the physical world, where objects can respond to the environment, humans and other printed objects. This balance between controlled design and uncontrolled natural interaction leads to the creation of compelling organic performances.
Related projects on this site include these Liquid Printed Pneumatics, Dancing Paper, 8bit Harmonica, and Musical Umbrella, and Sticky Actuator: Inflatable stick-on pouch motors.
The project is a continuation of Hone’s exploration into independently moving 3D-printed objects. The video below, Synthetic Jellies, is an earlier project set to Mr. Rogers-like music.